Five years ago Bill Gates launched the "Trustworthy Computing Initiative" which put secure, private and reliable computing as one of the fundamental tenants of software development at Microsoft. Everything that is developed at Microsoft is exposed to stringent security reviews and automated security tests which attempt to uncover any problems from a security perspective. There's an interesting whitepaper available which talks in depth about the Trustworthy Computing software development lifecycle and how our processes have been modified and improved over time. Here's what happens over the period of development now that the TCI has been in use (click to enlarge)
The efforts put in over the last five years have started to pay off with our latest operating system; Windows Vista which was given a leading security report compared to others in the market. This analysis shows that Windows Vista has the lowest number of vulnerabilities in the first 6 months when compared to Windows XP, Redhat, Ubuntu, Novell and Mac OSX. Jeff Jones who works for Microsoft on security has published a full report about all the tests conducted and how he arrived at these figures. You can see his blog post about it here and view the full report here.
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A firewall that is off by default? No granularity to the user settings? Sounds like Leopard might not